Q: Why is it so difficult to engage the public in the prevention of childhood trauma?

This is a question I ask myself every day. I have a few theories. First, people are dealing with untreated trauma. Second, we are distracted by a hundred messages an hour asking for our attention via our mobiles and tablets. Third, our national media is filled with clutter that keeps us from focusing on local challenges we actually can solve if we focus. Fourth, the public and lawmakers think that childhood trauma prevention is the task of child welfare–which is not the case. Child Welfare is funded primarily to react to problems after they occur. There is very little data-driven, cross-sector and citywide ACEs prevention work being coordinated by child protective services.

On good days, I do find hope in the people who have been inspired by Anna, Age Eight and reached out to start local data-driven ACEs prevention projects. We have two pilot sites, one in Owensboro, KY and the other in Las Cruces, NM. While there are many factors that lead to a numbed and distracted public, there are local champions who are breaking through the clutter to act and commit to data-driven work that has the promise of creating a seamless system of care and safety for families.